Category Archives: Clean Energy

Energize Appalachia

Join Appalachian Voices on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, at 7:00 p.m., Light House Studios @ Vinegar Hill Theatre, for Energize Appalachia, an evening about energy transition in Appalachia and beyond.

The event will feature: award-winning journalist, author and long-time Appalachian Voices board member Clara Bingham, who will screen her film The Last Mountain, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; a short film by the Light House students; and a panel discussion with Clara, Kate Boyle of Appalachian Voices, and Logan Landry from Sigora Solar. This event is free and open to the public.

TO RSVP: fill out the form online, join the Facebook event, or contact Susan Kruse

About Energize Appalachia

For more than a century, Appalachian coal built our infrastructure, our universities, and powered our technological advancement. But it came at an enormous cost for mountain communities. Coal companies have blown up more than 500 of the oldest, most biologically rich mountains in the world and buried over 2,000 miles of headwater streams. Appalachian communities located near mountaintop removal mines have double the cancer rates of nearby counties with no mining activity.

Now, with the Trump administration’s commitment to revive the coal industry, West Virginia’s Coal River Mountain—known as the Last Mountain—is facing renewed threats from mountaintop removal mining.

Appalachian Voices is working to Energize Appalachia by putting solar power on schools, low-income housing communities, hospitals, and old mountaintop removal mine sites in the heart of Southwest Virginia’s coal country. By creating a clean energy economy in the coalfields, we can build more vibrant, healthy communities for future generations.


Dirty Energy Dominance

A new report by Oil Change International reveals that U.S. taxpayers continue to foot the bill for more than $20 billion in fossil fuel subsidies each year. These subsidies amount to billions in wasteful spending propping up an industry responsible for a climate crisis that has contributed to lives lost and hundreds of billions in damages this hurricane season alone.

The October 2017 report lays out a comprehensive analysis of U.S. federal and selected state subsidies supporting the production of oil, gas, and coal. The analysis highlights some of the $14.7 billion in annual federal subsidies and $5.8 billion in yearly state-level incentives.

The report presents a number of key recommendations, including an immediate end to all tax breaks supporting fossil fuel exploration and production, halting efforts to extend and expand tax credits for unconventional fossil fuel production technologies, and rejecting campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry.



The SCC Wants Your Input

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is reviewing Dominion’s plan for Virginia’s energy future — known as the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) — and they are seeking input from Virginians until September 18, 2017.

If you’ve seen Dominion Energy’s website or ads lately, you might think the company produces a lot of solar power. Don’t be fooled. Dominion’s long-term plan relies mostly on more dirty fossil fuels. The plan would increase climate pollution and lead to higher electricity bills.

In its plan, Dominion vastly overestimates future electricity demand to justify its preference for “cheap” natural gas. Yet experts estimate that building the company’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would actually increase customer costs by up to $2.36 billion. Meanwhile, the company restricts the amount of solar that can be added to the grid and pays little attention to the benefits of energy efficiency, distributed solar or wind energy.

If Dominion has its way, we’ll have an outdated electric system that relies on fossil fuels like coal and fracked gas, results in carbon emissions and air and water pollution, and ignores the benefits of clean and cost-effective renewable energy sources. And Virginia will continue to lag behind its neighbors, like North Carolina, in terms of installed solar resources.

Now is the time for Virginia to invest in a clean energy economy. Prices for wind and solar energy have never been lower. Solar and energy efficiency in particular are creating far more jobs than coal, oil and natural gas nationwide. But Dominion plans to invest predominantly in fracked-gas pipelines and power plants.

While Dominion claims a commitment to clean energy in Virginia, the IRP falls disappointingly short. We need to let the Commission know that Virginians want Dominion to incorporate more clean energy sources like wind and solar, not lock our state into another half-century of fossil fuel burning.

Both the Sierra Club and Appalachian Voices have petition pages where you can submit your comments:

Blue Virginia Articles: Doing the Math, Approval Process a “Sham”

Two recent articles from Blue Virginia are particularly interesting:

  • 8-10-17  Dominion Fracked Gas Pipeline Approval Process All a Big “Sham”; “The propaganda of big business is just overpowering.”  The article includes full audio of an August 10, 2017 conference call organized by Interfaith Power and Light about Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, with Rev. Laura Martin, Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ (Arlington), Jamshid Bakhtiari, Virginia Field Coordinator at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), Rev. Morris Fleischer, Newport-Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church (in the path of proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline), and Pastor Paul Wilson, Union Hill & Union Grove Baptist Churches (Buckingham County, in the path of proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline). The article summarizes the comments of the participants and includes a link to the full audio.
  • 8-11-17  Doing the Math: Dominion’s and FERC’s Own Numbers Tell Us the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a Budget Buster. “You don’t need to rely on environmentalists’ climate calculations to know the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is carbon budget buster. Just look at the numbers provided in the past month by Dominion Energy Virginia and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. On July 14th, Dominion responded to interrogatories filed in the matter of the power company’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) now being considered by its regulator, the State Corporation Commission. In its responses, Dominion provided estimated carbon-pollution emissions through the year 2042 for eight different scenarios, Plans A – H. Dominion disclosed that its 2017 carbon pollution emissions will be 40 million tons per year, and that every one of its eight alternative plans will increase carbon pollution over the next 25 years.”

McAuliffe Says to Get Serious about Alternative Energy

Work It, SOVA (May 30, 2017), reports that in an energy roundtable discussion in Danville on May 29, 2017, Governor McAuliffe applauded a Dan River Region solar energy project and said Virginia needs to get serious about alternative energy if it wants to attract large tech companies and other employers. “McAuliffe urged the state to jump on clean energy projects for several reasons. He noted that climate change could have a dramatic impact on the state, with rising sea levels threatening the Norfolk Naval Shipyard with flooding. Additionally, he said many tech companies like Google and Microsoft wanted to see investment in renewable energy before they would move to the area.”

If McAuliffe really wants Virginia to be a leader in clean energy, why in the world is he still supporting the ACP and MVP?!

‘Gas Apocalypse’ Looms Amid Power Plant Construction Boom

A May 23, 2017 Bloomberg article discusses how the glut of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale has led to a massive boom in construction of new power plants. Dozens have been built in the last two years alone, adding a huge amount of power generation to a region that alredy has more than it needs. “There isn’t nearly enough electricity demand to support all the new capacity. And as wholesale electricity prices plunge, industry experts are anticipating a fire sale of scores of plants in the region. Many, in fact, have already been sold along the PJM Interconnection LLC grid, the nation’s largest, encompassing 13 states from Virginia to Illinois.” The slowdown in closures of coal-fired power plants resulting from more favorable policies under the Trump administration makes for an even bigger glut of power plants.

Yet despite decreasing demand for power and more power plants than needed, Dominion continues to insist it needs the ACP to meet increasing demand.